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Nora Garza, the former features editor at the Monitor in McAllen, TX who was fired for running a photograph of the rock group Deftones, will be receiving a check to help pay her bills until she finds new employment. Members of Deftones and Erik Brunetti, owner of the Los Angeles-based clothing company FUCT, are sending Garza $5,000.
Garza, an employee at the Monitor for more than two years, was told she had "embarrassed" the newspaper when she ran one of the standard publicity photos of Deftones that is distributed by the bandís record label, Madonnaís Maverick Recording Co. In the photo, which ran on the cover of the October 27 edition of the Monitorís entertainment section as a preview to the bandís McAllen Halloween concert, lead singer Chino Moreno is wearing a dark blue sweatshirt with the "fuct" company logo printed across the front.
"All of us in the band feel terrible about Mrs. Garza being fired," said Deftonesí Moreno, "and wanted to do something to help her out, especially when we were told that the paper didnít give her much of a severance. To be honest, Iím offended that a newspaper has no problem running gruesome photos of dead bodies or horrifically malnourished people, but fires a woman for running a photo that contains a word that resembles an obscenity."
Garza said that she didnít interpret the letters as obscene. "I didnít even think of it. It just looked like a college sweatshirt or something. I donít use that kind of language, so it just didnít occur to me." Garza said she received only one complaint from a reader, and that when she was dismissed, she was told of one other complaint. According to an article in the San Antonio Express-News, the Monitor editors deemed this incident "one of the top 10 worst blunders" in the paperís history.
Texas is what is termed an "at will" state, which means that an employer can legally fire anyone at any time for any reason. "Talk about a reason not to vote for Bush," commented Moreno.
Erik Brunetti, owner and designer of FUCT, a highly-successful "Gen X" clothing company for the past twelve years, said that nothing like this has occurred before. Brunetti cites that a "fuct" shirt was worn by Leonardo DiCaprio in The Beach, and Kevin Spacey sported one in his Oscar-winning American Beauty role. Rock musicians such as Marilyn Manson, and members of Rage Against the Machine, Slayer, and NIN are also patrons of "fuct." "Keanu Reeves wore one of our t-shirts on the MTV Video Music Awards and was asked to button his jacket, but I think thatís the closest thing to censorship weíve experienced."
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